Friday, August 12, 2011

My book is now published and available!

Tolkien and the Study of His Sources, by Jason Fisher
“Well, I’m back,” he said.

It’s been too long, my friends. My apologies for the long pause here at Lingwë. The reason should be obvious enough to regular readers — my book has been occupying just about all of my free time up until just the last few days. But even so, I’ve been remiss in making the announcement that my book, Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays, is now published and available for purchase!

It can be ordered directly from McFarland, as well as from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, and many other retailers. If you’re going to order from Amazon, I’d like to request that you use this link — it has my affiliate tag attached to it, which will earn me just a little bit extra on each book. This helps to offset the fact that I will be making a smaller royalty on copies sold through Amazon. This book was never about getting rich — and I certainly won’t — but every cent helps underwrite my research career. Getting to conferences, for example, comes entirely out of my own pocket. Anyway, you get my drift; no need for me to nag you. :)

Now the real, somewhat obsessive fun begins: watching my Amazon rank go up and down, keeping an eye on the price of the book, pouring over sales data from BookScan (of which I’ve only just gotten the first update today). The highest Amazon rank I’ve reached so far is in the neighborhood of 78,000. That sounds dismal, I know, but it’s really not — not when you consider that Amazon has over 8 million books in its inventory. In its particular genre (science-fiction and fantasy / criticism and biography, or something like that), my book has been ranked as high as #45, and when you count just the books about Tolkien, it’s been as high as fourth or fifth place. That is certainly nothing to complain about!

Copies are also wending their way to journals for review. I am very excited to see what kind of critical reception the larger Tolkien community has in store for my book. It will be some time before these reviews start appearing, especially in the case of annuals like Tolkien Studies, but at the risk of immodesty, I have reason to expect a good response. In fact, I’ll give you three reasons.

A few weeks ago, I sent out page proofs to a few colleagues in the hopes of a blurb or two. All three of these notable Tolkien scholars read my book and answered with generous and glowing comments, and I wanted to share them below. These endorsements appear on the back cover of the book as well, where the one from Verlyn Flieger was edited for space. I give her full endorsement here.
“The most exhaustive examination yet published of demonstrable, probable, and conjectural sources for Tolkien’s legendarium ransacks myth, history, astronomy, literature and popular culture for clues to Tolkien’s raw material. This collection will stimulate readers and scholars alike.”

—Verlyn Flieger, author of Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World

“This critical collection provides a solid defense of the sometimes-maligned literary discipline of ‘source-hunting’ along with outstanding examples of the value of this approach in understanding the depths of Tolkien’s literary creation.”

—Douglas A. Anderson, author of The Annotated Hobbit

“A valuable book for anyone serious about Tolkien. It not only adds new, confirming material to what is known about Tolkien’s sources but covers areas of influence previously denied or underplayed.”

—Marjorie J. Burns, author of Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
I hope those of you with an interest in Tolkien will get a copy of the book, read it, and share your thoughts with me. If you read and enjoy the book, a positive review on Amazon, even a short one, would be much appreciated. Positive reviews — like blurbs — help convince people who might otherwise be undecided.

I would also be grateful to anyone who recommends the book to their local or university library, or both. Now that school is getting ready to start, if you are teaching Tolkien please give some thought to assigning my book to your students, or at least recommending it to them. And please feel free to share my blog, announce my book on Facebook and Twitter, share links to Amazon or McFarland, etc. We starving scholars have to find a way to eke out a meager living, don’t we? :)


  1. Jason, any chance of this coming out in a digital format in the near future, such as a Kindle book?

  2. Yes, and thanks for asking! McFarland plans to release the book electronically, very likely through multiple vendors (i.e., Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.). I’m told this is in the pipeline and should be ready in a few weeks. Note that the ISBN for the e-book is different from the print edition.

  3. Sandra Miesel8/12/2011 11:52 AM

    Your book is now in my hand and looks good. Congratulations, Jason!

  4. Alas, the price is stiff for a grad student's budget, but I should get a copy via the University of Arizona shortly and very much look forward to reading.

    Thanks for (writing it | putting it together | assembling and editing it). (What's the correct verb phrase for an essay collection? I'm having trouble finding it).

  5. Congrats, Jason! That is so very cool!

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie :)

  6. Thanks, all of you. And Jake, I did all of those things, so any one of them is apt enough. :)

  7. I pre-ordered it from The Book Depository and had a notice a couple of days ago to say that it is now on it's way! So excited! The pre-order price there was actually very decent, and the fact that they have free shipping worldwide was what really sold me...:). I can't wait to read it! Don't worry, I will write reviews on Amazon and Book Depository if I get to writing reviews....

    Hope your book does really well!

  8. Thanks, Lilly — that would be great. I hear good things about The Book Depository, though I have never shopped with them personally. Perhaps I should!

  9. They were jolly good, but are now owned by Amazon, so it's much of a muchness.

  10. Oh, and: congratulations! I shall enquire of the most obvious library nearby if it's on the acquisitions list (and if not why not etc.)

  11. Very much obliged, Jonathan!

  12. Congrats, Jason! It's already on my Wish List. :)

  13. The FishWife8/15/2011 4:18 PM

    Cat Bastet: Wish List? Want to know what's on *my* wish list? That you would be the proud owner of Jason's book! ;)P

  14. Hahahaë! Nice one, FishWife! :)

  15. Well done Jason, and congratulations - I have it on order already and am really looking forward to it.

  16. I have finished reading it! It was brilliant! Loved it! I especially loved reading the last essay in the book "Biography as Source", you definitely saved the best for last there:). Your book has definitely inspired me to do some more source studying myself.... I have to for university anyway:). Your book now sits proudly on my shelf between Tolkien's "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun" and Eden's "Middle-earth Minstrel", a place of high honour on my humble shelf! I also really enjoyed the fact that all the essays were well-presented and easy to comprehend ( for someone at an undergraduate level )! Three cheers for Jason Fisher!

  17. well, unless your book ends up in the used book kiosk in our small rural Philippine town, I won't be able to read it.

    However, I have a collection of Inkling related books that actually have ended up here, so maybe in two years I'll be able to read it. (or when Amazon starts allowing ebooks here).

  18. Ah, Boinky, I hope my book makes its way that far, one of these days. Please tell me if it ever does. :)

  19. Great book Mr Fisher,
    Just one french "Bémol ", several years ago we spoke together of your Essay on dwarves from nordic mythology, I was a little bit disapointed to not find it, when I bought your book in France. Only few phrases.
    Anglin from Mythsoc

  20. Yes! Mythsoc finalist! Brilliant!

    1. Thanks so much, Saranna! Maybe third time will be the charm. :)